From project ontologies to communities of virtue

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Linehan, Carol
Kavanagh, Donncha
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Research Projects
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Projects, as an organizing principle, can provide exciting contexts for innovative work. Thus far, project management discourse has tended to privilege the vital need to deliver projects ‘on time, on budget, and to specification’. In common with the call for papers for this workshop we suggest that perhaps the “instrumental rationality” underpinning this language of characterising project activity may create more problems than it solves. In this paper we suggest that such questions (and language) frame project contexts in a partial way. We argue that such concerns stem from a particular worldview or ontology, which we identify as a ‘being’ ontology. Here we contrast being and becoming project ontologies, to explore the questions, methods and interventions that each foregrounds. In an attempt to move this dialogue further than simply another contrast of modern and postmodernist accounts of project organising, we go on to consider some possible ethical concomitants of valuing being and becoming ontologies in project contexts.
Project organisation , Ontology , Community of practice , Virtue , Ethics
Linehan, C. and Kavanagh, D. (2004) 'From project ontologies to communities of virtue', 2nd Making Projects Critical Workshop: Projectification and its Discontents, Bristol Business School, Bristol, UK, 13-14 December.
© 2004 the authors